Rheonix Inc, Ithaca, NY, has been granted an integrated microfluidic device and methods patent for its chemistry and reagent device (CARD) cartridge, which enables molecular assays to be performed on the company’s EncompassMDx and Encompass Optimum instruments. Designed with cost-savings and functionality in mind, the company’s CARD permits all assay steps to be performed within a fully enclosed cartridge, thus eliminating the potential for contamination, reducing user error, and streamlining workflow.

The dual-layer design of the Rheonix CARD automatically manipulates reagents internally by using an active network of fluidic pumps, valves, and channels. The upper surface of the device contains reservoirs that hold reagents used in the extraction, purification, amplification, and detection processes, and store any resulting liquid waste. The channels and pumps located on the lower surface of the device are used to transport and mix reagents, and to move waste into the reservoirs on the top surface. By actively pumping fluids from reservoir to reservoir within the CARD, molecular diagnostic tests can be performed automatically.

Developed for use by laboratories of all types, from small community hospital labs to centralized high-complexity laboratories, the device is suited for a range of applications, including sample preparation for next-generation sequencing, research-use-only testing, and in vitro diagnostic applications.

Researchers and clinicians can run several samples through a fully integrated and automated nucleic acid amplification test, from raw sample input through detection, with no user intervention. Each CARD allows for simultaneous testing of four different samples, and can handle a wide range of sample types, including fresh tissue; formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue; saliva; serum; swabs; urine; and whole blood. The device performs multiple molecular techniques, including sample preparation processes such as chemical and enzymatic lysis and DNA purification; amplification processes such as endpoint polymerase chain reaction (PCR), reverse transcriptase PCR, and quantitative PCR; and detection on a low-density microarray or lateral flow strip.

According to Tony Eisenhut, president of Rheonix, the device and its low cost of ownership “will help make molecular diagnostics a reality in laboratories worldwide.”

The single-use cartridges “can perform sophisticated functions with a simple design,” continues Eisenhut, adding that the device “lowers laboratory costs by eliminating waste in time, equipment, and consumables,” in addition to reducing the amount of highly skilled labor. “Rheonix is helping bring powerful molecular tools to laboratories that could not previously afford to purchase or run them,” Eisenhut says.

For more information, visit Rheonix.